Items That Can’t Be Put in Dumpsters

Paint, pesticides, and electronics are all considered hazardous waste materials. These hazardous materials can’t be disposed of as you would other trash. This is due to the horrific toxicity of the items. Their toxicity does a great deal of harm to the environment, people, plant, and animal life. Their corrosive nature means that we must take extra precautions when disposing of them.

If you have any questions about what may be hazardous or not, please check with your city’s rules and regulations regarding the disposal of any of these products.

How to Dispose of Unused Paint

All paint is considered toxic to the environment and must be disposed of regarding its type: Latex, oil-based, enamel, or alkyd paint. You can quickly tell the type of paint by simply reading the labels. However, what can you do if the labels are gone? Well, that’s easy.

Grab a jar of water, place a brush in the paint, and put the brush in the water. If the paint comes off, it’s water-based latex paint. If the paint refuses to come off in the water, it’s oil-based, alkyd or enamel. Also, remember that you can also recycle unused paint. For more information, visit the recycled paint site (

Latex Paint

Leftover latex paint can’t be put down the drain or tossed into the trash while wet. Your first option is to let the latex paint air dry. Once it’s dry, you can throw it into the trash bin for pickup. If there’s too much paint left to air dry, grab yourself some cat litter (nothing fancy, the basic dollar store clay type will do) and pour it into the paint can. This hardens the latex paint so that it’s a solid, dry mass and not wet.

You can also purchase a waste paint hardener at your local home supply store. Once the paint becomes hard, you can remove the solid paint mass and toss it into your garbage bin, and recycle the can.

Finally, know that there are other options. For instance, you can take your leftover Latex paint and donate it. You can seal up the can and keep the excess paint for crafts or touch-ups.

Oil-Based, Enamel and Alkyd Paint

Oil-Based paint, enamels, and alkyd paints are classified as hazardous waste and must be treated as such. Not only do such paints take a very long time to dry, but most give off harmful vapors if left out in the open. This means they cannot be placed in your home’s garbage bins. Instead, you’ll need to get in touch with the closest hazardous household waste operation to take these paints off your hands. You may also consider donating the leftover paint to charity.

Spray Paint

Unused spray paint is not only bad for the environment, but the can itself is under extreme pressure. Because of this, you cannot simply throw your spray paint cans away in the trash. After all, you don’t want to risk the can exploding in the trash bin or garbage truck. The only time you can throw out a spray paint can is if it’s completely empty.

Test the Spray Paint Can Before Tossing

It’s straightforward to test your spray paint can for unused paint. Simply take a bunch of newspapers or an old cardboard box, and spray them. If no paint is emitted, and all you hear is a hissing sound, then the can is empty. If there is paint left, keep shaking the can, and continue to spray the papers or cardboard until you get the hissing noise. When empty, then you can toss the cans in the trash.

How to Dispose of Pesticides

Pesticides are very serious business and should never just be thrown away as if they were regular garbage. Before you do anything, read the label on the pesticide container and follow the disposal instructions given by the manufacturer. On the off chance that there are no instructions on the label, or if the label has worn off, you have the option to call your local government sanitation department. They will supply you with the proper instructions.

What Not to Do with Unused Pesticides

 There are certain “don’ts” to pay attention to when dealing with pesticide disposal. For instance, never take unused pesticides and dump them down your drain or toilet. Never bury the pesticides in the ground or pour them into the ground. Remember, not all pesticides can be handled by the water department. Finally, never burn leftover pesticides.

If you can’t find help, then contact your local city government’s sanitation department, who will guide you through the practice of what to do with your leftover pesticides.

How to Dispose of Electronics

If you didn’t consider your computer hazardous waste, you’re not alone. In fact, all electronic devices, from your computer to your tablet and cell phone, are considered to be hazardous waste. This is due to the materials used to make these devices. So, now that you are aware of their level of waste toxicity, you can learn how to dispose of them properly.

Make a Donation

Your first choice when it comes to used and unwanted electronics is to donate them. Not only does that save on valuable resources, but it can give underprivileged people a leg up in life. Not everyone can afford a new desktop or laptop. Those that can’t are left out of the hub of life. This is especially true for children. In today’s world, a computer is vital to their success. By donating a laptop to a worthy charity, you are helping those without access gain it.

The EPA ( has a handy list of places where you can donate your used electronics. As a side note, don’t forget to ask for a receipt after you donate for tax purposes.

Before You Donate or Recycle

Before you dig that old laptop out of the closet and donate it, there are a few things you need to do. First, wipe all of your information from your hard drive. This means you’re removing the content from your drive to an external hard drive, USB, SD Card or uploading it to the cloud.

In regards to phones, iPhones will typically encrypt your data, but Android users will have to go to their settings menu to do it manually. Once finished, then do a factory reset for your phone. Finally, take out your SD or SIM card.

There you have it, a comprehensive list of steps and precautions to take regarding pesticide, electronics, and paint disposal. If you have any questions about this or any other item, the best place to go to is your local sanitation department. Your local sanitation department will be able to inform you of all regional rules and regulations regarding the item in question.

Remember always to separate your toxic items from your regular trash until you know how to dispose of the toxic materials, and always follow the correct procedures for each individual toxic item.